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If Only

Country United Kingdom

THE “IF ONLY” STORY

“No UK band can play AOR that good, they must be from America!”
Geoff Downes, 1989

 It all started back in 1988 in London, IF ONLY was to be centred around the amazing vocal talents of Lorraine Bennington, and after a few false starts and a rotating cast of members things finally settled down with the line-up that was set to record the “No Bed of Roses” album. Founding member and songwriter Greg Hart recruited his band mates from his previous group Moritz, including Ian Edwards on bass, Andy Stewart on keyboards and Andy Elphick on drums. Alongside them they added hot shot guitarist Martin Chaisson (UFO, Waysted). Unfortunately personal events led to the departure of Bennington after just one show, but luckily for the band a friend recommended ex-Girlschool vocalist Jackie Bodimead as a replacement.

“This is where the story really began” said Greg back in 2004. “Jackie had a voice from the angels, a class that oozed so much quality”. The next year was spent in the studio recording, writing and arranging what would become the original “No Bed Of Roses” album, and it was around this time that the band got a break when a “chance hearing” of their working demo’s fell on the ears of Asia/Yes keyboardist Geoff Downes, who insisted on meeting the band. He was stunned by the quality of songs and performance, thinking it was a “big shot” USA band looking for a UK release. Geoff refused to believe IF ONLY were an English group, “No UK band can play AOR that good, they must be from America!” was Geoff’s famous quote. Geoff saw the band play live in the rehearsal studio and on the spot he insisted on producing the album, taking it into Advision Studios for what would become a huge production. Geoff also invited Greg to write some songs, for the up and coming Asia comeback album “Aqua”.

With Geoff at the helm, the band completed the album, and even had the privilege of recording the album closer “Man Against The World” (a tribute to the immortal Freddie Mercury) with Mike Moran (Queen, Gotthard). Mike helped the band to finish the record by adding every Queen trick in the book on this beautiful piece and he even tried to get Brian May in to feature but alas time and  schedules proved this just a bit out of reach.

With the album in the “can”, and full of potential hit singles, all was set for a big celebration, but yet again a sinister twist would halt the party. Once more with personal issues looming, Jackie left the band at the eleventh hour, causing a devastating blow that halted everything. It was 1991 and with grunge looming ever closer, the band were seemingly in trouble, in debt, and in emotional pieces. But once more help was at hand when the band was told about this amazing female singer from London ready to set the world alight, Tina Egan. She was invited to join the band and be given the arduous task of re-recording the entire vocals on the album. Tina roared her way into the studio and with a voice of blood and thunder, she set about stamping her mark on the tracks. To spice things up, Tina brought in a few of her own tracks for the album, this also inspired the band to record  “Long Way From Home”, a new song that became the epic on the record. Tina and the band even set out to play some legendary live shows in the Winter of 1991.

The album, now over 2 years in the making, and caught in the middle of Grunge was finally finished and released in Japan in 1992. A European release never materialised until 1994, and soon after disappeared. It was a tragedy that the band seemed to attract bad luck and misfortune on a far too regular basis and the band folded in the early 90s, leaving behind a classic record, now hailed as one of the finest female fronted AOR and Melodic Rock albums ever. “No Bed Of Roses” stands up there with the classic albums by artists like Vixen, Witness, Robin Beck, Heart, Laos, Lee Aaron and Darby Mills.
And tragedy was to dog the band even long after their split with the untimely death of Tina Egan in 1999. Devastating the music world, friends and fans, alike, Tina will remain the “star” she alas never became. Tina was, and remains a simply gigantic loss to the music business.
The story ends on a happier higher note with the reformation of Greg, Ian & Andy’s previous group Moritz in 2008 thanks to the worldwide interest in their back catalogue.

Following their unexpected and successful comeback to the AOR scene, they recorded “Undivided”, Moritz’ first ever full length album, which was released through Avenue Of Allies in January 2011.

But for here and now, “No Bed Of Roses” is a tribute to the late great Tina, who when pronounces on “I’m No Angel”, “Heaven shook with my first yell...”, you know she damn well meant it!

 

 

Albums (1)
Songs (12)
# SONG Album
1 Loaded Gun No Bed Of Roses
2 Tumblin' Dice No Bed Of Roses
3 If Love Could Last Forever No Bed Of Roses
4 I'm No Angel No Bed Of Roses
5 No Bed Of Roses No Bed Of Roses
6 Easy Lay No Bed Of Roses
7 Rock And A Hard Place No Bed Of Roses
8 Red Hot Heaven No Bed Of Roses
9 Ghost of You No Bed Of Roses
10 Forever My Love No Bed Of Roses
11 Long Way From Home No Bed Of Roses
12 Man Against The World No Bed Of Roses

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